BWW Review: Loving You to Death in Nogueira's THE IDEAL OBITUARY

BWW Review: Loving You to Death in Nogueira's THE IDEAL OBITUARYIt is said that what brings us the most happiness is also that which will cause us the greatest sorrow; they are truly two sides of the same coin. The love we have for another human being is meant to fill us with a one-of-a-kind feeling of joy - of warmth and comfort that would make the sadness unbearable if we were to live without them. If a woman is depressed, one would think that her husband would be vital in expelling the darkness which enshrouds her mind; you would think that this something "happy" would make things easier. Although, this logic only works if your husband agrees to take you to circumstance-specific funerals, where a liberating bout of crying is stronger than any antidepressant on the market.

In Rodrigo Nogueira's The Ideal Obituary, a severely depressed woman is exhilarated by how intensely those who suffer at funerals cry, in turn showing how much they love. One's happiness stems from the wailing grief of another's love, which makes for a unique, if not slightly sadistic, concept for this new play.

Written and directed by Nogueira (the latter with assistance from Valerie Mudek) and now presented at the Tank, The Ideal Obituary makes for quite the interesting play for more reasons that one. Produced in association with Torn Page and Apt 929 Studios, it is considered a dark comedy that the audience needs to dig in the darkest corner of their minds to find. The play gives the plain fact of this woman's rather bleak circumstances off the bat: once in the grasp of a debilitating sadness, she is suddenly struck with this euphoria that she will make any crude comment or travel any distance to keep. She may even sacrifices what she loves the most.

The dynamic of those first few moments continues and becomes more masterfully disturbing as she absorbs the pain of those at funerals and is awed by not only the intensity of their cries, but how much love shines through the hurt. She wants to feel such emotion, she makes it her goal to achieve the "deepest cry." This is a show that makes you consider the idea of how much joy is brought through the pain of others, then ponder whether pain and despair can truly be healing because of its tender source - then you just wonder how long this woman can keep this up before the idea creeps even her out. The Ideal Obituary might take a little while to digest, but it's definitely a clever, somewhat uncomfortable performance that makes for a unique theatrical experience. BWW Review: Loving You to Death in Nogueira's THE IDEAL OBITUARY

Any person so consumed by depression as to lose enthusiasm to even move from couch to table is hardly a funny thing. When Nogueira's married couple first take the stage, a woman stares blankly at the TV screen, almost a vegetable who shows no sign of happiness or desire to be there. She is then joined by her husband, who has prepared a lovely dinner; in order to convince her to eat it, he must physically lift her from the couch and lead her to the table. From there, she stares blankly ahead until she hears of a tragedy on TV; the first signs of life show on her stoic face, followed by movement and then profound interest in what she is watching. She and her husband soon discover that that which would make anyone lose their faith in the world - murders and unnatural disasters - actually brings her great joy. She claims that the crying and the misery is liberating because the sadness is based off of love; so, her husband agrees to take her to funerals to lighten her mood.

Things are going really well, but when she begins to be particular about which funerals will evoke the most feeling and how far she is willing to travel to find her "ideal obituary," her husband begins to question his decision to go along with this plan. In what culminates to everyone's surprise, The Ideal Obituary leaves audiences with an awkward smile on their faces - a smile that seems to say that this play brings a unique concept to the stage, but is still a little odd to be completely believed.

BWW Review: Loving You to Death in Nogueira's THE IDEAL OBITUARYThere are many people who deserve praise for bringing this show to the stage. Liliana de Castro and Kevin Loreque bring husband and wife to life (great job!), with many others helping them out in the wings. With set and costume design by Anderson Thives, lighting design by Kia Rogers, sound design by Fan Zhang, video and graphic design b Kyle Glasow, stage management by Marina Montesanti and production management by Monica Vilela and Miguel de Oliveira, this team makes the show come together quite well. Great job everyone!

The Ideal Obituary, which celebrates its world premiere with this production, began performances at the Tank (312 West 36th Street) on March 8th, and will continue thru March 24th. Tickets are $20/$15 for students and seniors and may be purchased by visiting www.thetanknyc.org. Performances will be Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 pm.

Enjoy the show!

Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid-Kuser

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